August 12th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
2 years ago

McCain: Putin wants 'to restore the old Russian empire'

McCain sharpened his criticism of Putin Tuesday.
McCain sharpened his criticism of Putin Tuesday.

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (CNN) – John McCain is turning up the heat on Moscow, and accusing Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of wanting to “restore the old Russian empire.”

McCain’s comments came in an interview with Harrisburg public radio WITF, in which he hammered Putin for continuing to wield power since leaving the presidency behind earlier this year and installing his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

Watch: McCain says 'we are all Georgians'

“I don’t think there’s any doubt who is still by far the most powerful and influential person in Russia,” McCain said, arguing that Putin’s “personal control” of the military “indicates his position of power.”

“Of course we have to deal with Russia and we deal with Putin,” McCain said. “But it has to be on a very realistic basis. And not one that there’s any illusions about his ambitions.”

Watch: McCain condemns Russia

He then accused Putin of wanting to restore Russia to the days of czardom, when a monarchy exerted broad control over parts of Asia and eastern Europe.

“I think it’s very clear that Russian ambitions are to restore the old Russian Empire,” he said. “Not the Soviet Union, but the Russian Empire.”


Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts
soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. Chris, Denver CO

    And McCain wants to restore the cold war so he can pretend to be Reagan.

    August 12, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. redoktober

    I'm not a fan of McCain, but on this point, I completely agree. Whether it's the NASHI group, or having himself named PM of Belarus – this guy is up to no good.

    They'll end up with another Stalin if they aren't careful.

    August 12, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. William, from Cali!

    Russia is a "bully nation"!....................... "third world, country"; no less; nothing more!

    August 12, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. dollorbil

    Yes he does and he will run over anyone that will let him. I will never forget when Bush looked in his eyes kinda like birds of a feather. Both want to take away the freedom of their peoples and give the countrys' wealth to their rich and corrupt buddies.

    August 12, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Mr Republican

    War Propaganda

    August 12, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Barr '08

    Hey, you kids...get off my lawn!!

    August 12, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Dave g, minneapolis

    Just like in the middle east...this is over oil. It's also something that we don't need to be involved in. Let Europe handle this, it's in their backyard and now that the EU is a superpower they should step up to the plate and make a statement.

    Yes, Europe can't handle their own issues (bosnia, kosovo...) but if we stayed out of it, they could start to learn the lessons that we have.

    Or, we could rekindle the ice of the cold war fires and be at odds with Russia and China.

    August 12, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Democrats for the white house

    McCain don't even know what the day of the week this is ,how does he know what the Russian prime minister has in store for Russia. Ameriica has enough problems than to try and second guess Russia.
    McCain needs to work on America's vision (which he has none) and mind his own business. All we need is for Russia to come over here and start bombing us

    August 12, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Eric

    I believe "McWar" sums it up very nicely. Anyone want WWIII? Then vote for McWar.

    August 12, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Unshrub

    Talk, talk, talk, what else can the US do? Bush and others like McCain have weakened our military with a war in Iraq that we should not have been involved in. They planned poorly then and now Russia knows we can't do much about their illegal use of force. Talk, talk, talk.

    August 12, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Republican for Obama

    Go get em John, I mean after all our troops are fairly close anyway. WE WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!!! MUAHAHAMUAHAHA

    August 12, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. donovansbrain

    Lookout, Gramps! Commies are under your bed! Yawn, what next, the Yellow Peril of China? This is the kind of 'old' thinking America fears from McCain.

    August 12, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Don

    McCain should be applauded for highlighting such an important issue.

    August 12, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. LS

    On recent remarks from McCain addressing this situation was absolutely horrible, and was obviously not thought out.

    McCain is careless and shows lack of good judgement, which is also an obvious trait of his supporters as well.

    McCain wouldn't hesitate a second to start War World III, and is not a person who would be able to communicate in a reasonable fashion with any forgeign leader.

    McCain just doesn't have what it takes to be president.

    August 12, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Dennis in Twin Cities

    I dunno. One might be able to make the argument. But to make it on a chaotic world stage? What does he think Putin is going to do with that particular little accusation? Stop shooting?

    This flat out doesn't help. And it's just one more indication that for all the bragging about who has the experience, ad nauseam, we've had enough problems on that same world stage for the last 8 years without an encore.

    August 12, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. No control.

    This coming from a man who has no problem with being in Iraq for 100 years.

    Stupid old man go away.

    August 12, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. J Houston, TX

    Everyone is always out for themselves. Churchill understood this, even if Chamberlin caused WWII while giving in to Hitler's demands. Strong negotiations and aggressive attempts to keep your friends and foes in check is an important part of the balance of global power. While Obama wants to run around "making friends" he will do exactly as Jimmy Carter did, letting foreign nations walk all over us. McCain is the only man ready to stand toe to toe with our enemies and prevent war by being ready and aggressive.

    August 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Jim

    Oh boy...

    Can we PLEASE elect a smart leader this time around, someone with a head on his shoulder's, educated and willing to put a round table togather to discuss the best solution to our problems, not an old fanatic stuck to the old days when communism was a witch hunt...

    August 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. What!!!

    That happened when the communists lost power in the 90s. This is still a scary threat to our security. And yes, I was a russian analyst in the military for 22 years. That is what I base my statement off of.

    August 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    Here we go, John McWar is starting up already. Just say no to THE WAR MONGER!

    August 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. The real rush lim shady

    McAncient,

    try to set you own house straight before caring about other nations like Georgia or Iraq

    August 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Mike in California

    John McCain (given his recent attacks, I do not have the respect for him to refer to him by title) is a dangerous man. He wants to provoke a fight with Russia in order to promote fear at home in the hope of making himself look tough and more electable. McCain sees himself in the Ronald Reagan mold of fighting comunism. He has advocated for removing Russia from the G8, and recently referred to it as the G7, taking the Bush approach that if you say it, it will be so!

    I fear that if John McCain is elected, we will go through four years war and the perpetual threat of war.

    Change < Fear
    change is greater than fear

    August 12, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    Fear, smear, mock, lie – Is that all McLame can do? Only this time he's trying to scare the bejeezes out of us using the Russians as the excuse!
    It's the 21st century and it's time to negotiate with the world not bomb, bomb, bomb it. We need someone like Obama who is nuanced in his negotiation skills not a blustery old man trying to re-living the "60s...

    August 12, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Boye

    Come on John, don't start this. We are already dealing with two wars. Don't instigate anything with Russia. The UN isn't going to back us up on this one.

    August 12, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    JUST WHAT WE NEED ANOTHER BUSH CLONE TRYING TO STIR UP WAR AND FEAR. RUSSIA AND FRANCE ARE SPEAKING ON DIPLOMACY AND MCCAIN IS TRYING TO START A WAR BY NAME CALLING. NAME CALLING GOT US INTO THE MESS WE ARE IN NOW AND HAS PROVEN NOT TO WORK. MCCAIN HAS NO POLITICAL GROUND TO STAND ON OTHER THAN WAR. SEND MCCAIN PACKING NOW.

    August 12, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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